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Students' perceptions of problem‐based learning

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Problem-based learning has in recent times aroused keen curiosity due to its pedagogical orientation of facilitating students' active construction of knowledge. As a curriculum model it is designed based upon the solving of either simulated or real-life problems that generally tend to be ill-structured and open-ended. In such a model students are encouraged to become independent, self-directed learners who determine their own learning outcomes. Against the backdrop of such an instructional setting, the teacher's traditional role undergoes a paradigm shift from being authoritative to facilitative. The teacher now becomes situated as an active partner in the learning transactions by scaffolding the learning processes of the students at appropriate junctions. In this article the authors look at a study that the first-named author conducted to elicit feedback from a class of 25 first-year polytechnic tertiary students for the module of ‘cognitive processes and problem solving'. These students have been exposed to problem-based learning methodologies throughout their entire curriculum for two semesters. This study identifies both the inherent strengths and limitations in implementing problem-based learning modules at institution-wide levels.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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